Phoenix Music Online


I had a chance to catch up with Jose Urquiza, the lead singer of 3 Years Hollow last week to discuss their debut album `The Cracks´ in depth and much more.

Here´s what he had to say.

 What made you approach Clint Lowery about working with him, what was it like and what did you take away from the whole experience?

We met Clint through his brother Corey, from Eye Empire. We had played a couple dates with EE and Corey really took a liking to us, so he suggested we hook up with Clint to do some writing, just to see what happens. After working with Clint, we ended up signing a deal with Imagen Records, and they liked what we had been working on so we signed Clint on to produce our debut record for Imagen. The experience was life changing, in every way. For the first time as a band, we had a producer step in from the very beginning, with us every step of the way in the studio. That was new for us since we had been self-produced up until that point. I think that really shines on The Cracks and you can hear his influence in the sound as well.


What are your fondest musical memories to date and why?

Some of my fondest musical memories have happened this year. Being on tour full-time with a band we’ve been working on for 10 years brings so many different emotions and feelings with it. Seeing parts of the country that I truly never imagined I’d see. I dreamed of it but some part of me always kept the possibility at a distance. And now it’s reality. Working with Clint in my home studio and on the record is also one of my best memories. That experience was a turning point for me. It was a little payoff to many years of work.


Where do you usually gather song writing inspiration?

Most of the time I write about personal experiences or even an experience I witnessed someone else go through. That is usually where I find it most easy to connect with real emotion, something that people can relate to. But other times, for instance with our song ‘Remember’, I wanted to share a message. I want to leave our stamp on music history and I wanted to somehow convey in a song that everyone has many opportunities of their own to make a difference, to be remembered. It was one of the first time I’ve written like that and I loved it.


How does it feel to finally have your first full album out, how has the response been so far and how is it being apart of Imagen Records?

I can’t even really explain how it feels. It’s amazing and exciting and everything that we’ve worked for, but it’s also a little scary. You know, we’ve put so much into this record, and now we have this two-year period where everything counts. How will the singles do at radio? Will we have a successful year or two of touring from this record? Will the songs fade into history? Those are all questions I think about but also have to let go of because in the end, the only thing I can do is work hard and hope that the listeners and fans of music love what we do. So far response from the critics has been overwhelmingly positive. And our fans have expressed to us how much they love the album. Now we’re just working hard touring, and trying to expose as many people to it as possible, and Imagen Records is doing everything they can to help us with that dream as well. They give us the resources we need to tour, to spread the singles via radio, and we couldn’t ask for anything more than that. I really trust the people we’re working with and it definitely feels like more of a family than record label.


If you could open up for any artist on a tour, dead or alive…who would it be and why?

Personally, I would love to open up for Incubus or Tool. Both bands feature two of my main vocal influences, and are on my list of top 5 favorite bands. Either of those would be a dream come true.


What makes your music unique to what’s out there at the moment?

You know, I honestly can’t answer that question. I would love to sit in a room with some music lovers and have them answer that question for me though, haha. I’d like to think we offer something unique, a mixture of 5 different music backgrounds and influences that come together to create something new. That’s definitely what I’d love to think is the case. But being on the inside it’s so hard to say. I know that we won’t stop evolving. We have 5 talented players in this band and I can’t wait for the chance for each of them to shine through. I think that will come with our next album. We’ll hopefully have a little more of a chance to experiment in the studio and really find out who we are.


In ‘Chemical Ride’ you sing, ‘watch it as we go by, you’ve taken all those years and things that we made for one last ride.’ What is your own interpretation of these lyrics and what is meant by a chemical ride?

This song was actually written about my experiences watching two people go through a dark time. I could see the pain that was felt by the choices an individual was making. And I could put myself in the position of being the one fighting to save anything that was left to save. That line to me is very specific. It literally means there is no more turning back, you had every chance to save things, but it’s too late, you took us on one last ride and it took us to the end. The term Chemical Ride, to me, meant that this person should cast away these demons they fight and replace them with love, and dedication to this person that was fighting for her. Get rid of these distractions that are poisoning you and choose me, I want to be your chemical ride…


After listening to the album, I feel it focuses on a relationship, was it about a particular relationship or ‘relationships’ plural?

The record definitely has a “relationship” feel. I tend to write the most about my personal experiences, or even experiences I watch others go through and it seems the most pain and happiness can come from the topic of love. That has been true with me for most of my life as well, even when it’s myself creating the pain. The past few years have definitely been rough for myself and for others I’m close with and those feelings definitely tend to come out in our songs. Sometimes when I’m writing, I won’t even see what I’m writing for what it really is. I’ll come back to it a week later and it will mean something totally different to me. Hopefully that translates to the listener as well.


What is the most personal song on the album to you and why?

The Cracks is probably the most personal song for me. When I wrote it, I was feeling completely consumed by the feelings and emotions I described in the lyrics. I don’t think I’ve been affected like that before while writing. This is another one of those songs where I was writing it and it meant one thing, and looking back on it even now, it means something completely new and different. To me, it’s about finally letting go of the need to be in control of everything. I had to realize that I couldn’t control every single piece of my life and I was robbing myself of true happiness by trying to. Letting go of that has given me peace and freedom from my fears and insecurities.


You have a song called ‘Take The World’ on the album, Is 3 Years Hollow ready to take on the world and what’s next for you?

That song really became our mantra over the last couple years. Our friends and fans even caught on to that and started tagging anything 3YH related with #taketheworld. It’s something we believe in. We’ve worked so hard to get to this point and we will absolutely not quit after accomplishing what we have, especially knowing how long it took to get to this point. There really is only one goal for us and that is to make this a career, write music that lasts for the ages, and if we can, influence lives in some way. I know how important music was to me growing up and in tough stages of my life, and I want to be there for the next generation that fights through the same thing.


For anyone who hasn’t had a chance to see a live show, what can they expect from a 3YH show? How are you finding the crowds reactions so far?


One thing we always hear is that our live show is even better than the album. For us that’s always hard to accept because everything on the album is so polished and mixed so perfectly. But I put myself in the crowd during one of my favorite band’s concerts and it all makes sense. We try to be as real as possible live. No backing tracks, no fake vocals, just go up there and play our instruments as best as we can and put on a great show for people. There may come a time when a bigger production is needed, but for now, we’re just focused on doing our best and giving people a quality show. It’s a pretty great feeling when fans come up to us at shows telling us it was their first time seeing us and that they’re new fans. That’s the best compliment we could get.


How would you describe and rate the music scene in the place you are currently living and has that inspired or uninspired you in any way?

The music scene in the Quad Cities is pretty great. Unfortunately music lovers don’t go out to as many local shows as everyone would like, but there is definitely a great scene and there are clubs to support it. It’s not necessarily the haven for hard rock, since there are really only about a handful of bands that would fit that description, but there is a great metal scene, country scene, hip hop, the list goes on. We’re fortunate enough to have a local following in our home town that have been with us since the beginning and it keeps growing, just like we do. Location wise, we’re within five hours from several major cities, including Chicago, Des Moines, Milwaukee, St. Louis, and Indianapolis. That definitely helped in growing our band from local, to regional, to national.


Are you planning any shows in Europe in the near future?

I WISH!!!! We’ve been aching at the chance to play Europe. We have a solid fan base in other parts of the world thanks to social media and the web. We will fight for the chance to repay those fans by visiting their country and playing a show for them. That is definitely a goal we fight for every day.


And finally…

What is the one thing you can’t live without?

Haha, interesting question. I don’t have many things I can’t live without. Being in a new band and touring for a living sort of forces you to appreciate every single thing that you do have, and helps you realize you can live without a lot. Right now I would say the only things I couldn’t live without are my family, my children, my friends, and my band-mates and brothers. They all mean the world to me and are the major reasons why I do what I do.


The Cracks is available worldwide now and for more info visit


Credits to Kirsten Krupps for use of photo
Categories: Interviews

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